Top 10 foods for hormonal balance

62536051 - book with words hormone imbalance symptoms on a table.Truth be told, you probably don’t go about thinking about the hormonal impact of what they’re about to eat. All that’s most likely top of mind is quenching that raging hunger in your stomach.

But if you realize how important hormones are, you’d pay a little more attention to that. Your hormones affect all facets of your body, including stress levels, digestion, metabolism, sleep, and even brain function. What’s more, hormone imbalances are the primary reasons for a wide range of medical issues like weight gain, diabetes, and infertility.

To prevent that from happening, we turn our attention to 10 foods that can help improve your body’s hormonal balance.

#1 Avocado

Avocado is one of the healthiest fruits available because they are packed with lots of beneficial nutrients.

This superfood uniquely contains a high source of plant sterols. Research has shown that eating plant sterols can lower cholesterol and improve heart health. It also increases progesterone in women and testosterone in men, leading to improved fertility.

Avocados can be eaten raw just like any other food. But you can also sprinkle them with a pinch of salt and pepper to add extra seasoning.

#2 Almonds

Dietitians often point us to nuts as a healthy snack because of their impressive nutritional benefits.

For instance, almonds can help increase your body’s adiponectin hormone. This hormone is what’s responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. By increasing this hormone, you significantly lower your risk of diabetes.

Eating almonds also helps to improve skin texture, particularly in women, by reducing their testosterone levels. Because almonds can affect testosterone levels, it is important for men to first consult their doctor before including it in their regimen.

#3 Green Tea

Green tea is rich in antioxidants and metabolism-boosting compounds. Green tea also contains theanine, a compound that reduces the release of stress hormones (cortisol). What’s more, antioxidants reduce your risk of inflammation and diseases.

By drinking green tea regularly, women may get increased and healthy levels of progesterone. This improved balance in estrogen levels helps to manage some unpleasant menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.

#4 Broccoli

If you’re like most people, you had your mom force you to eat broccoli as a kid. Well, she did you right! Broccoli contains phytoestrogen compounds which may promote beneficial estrogen metabolism.

Broccoli sprouts also contain sulforaphane, a compound that helps reduce your risk of hormone-related tumors. You should eat broccoli raw, with a dip, or in a salad, to get the most nutrient out of it.

#5 Flaxseed

Some say flaxseed is one the most powerful foods on earth. It’s hard to argue with that when you realize that research has shown this superfood to reduce the risk of heart diseases, cancer, diabetes, and even stroke.

In addition, flaxseed may help reduce inflammation by providing anti-inflammatory omega 3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA).

#6 Maca Root

Maca helps you to stabilize your mood and maintain positive energy. It also provides relief from mood swings caused by hormonal imbalance. This is achieved by lowering levels of cortisol in the body.

Maca may help with a wide range of sexual dysfunctions, from boosting sperm motility to increasing sex drive in men and women. You can eat Maca in capsule form or spray it into beverages if it’s in powdered form.

#7 Apples

You’ve probably heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. That’s 100% true! Apples are very beneficial to your hormonal health.

Packed with vitamin C, apples promote the production of progesterone, which in turn helps reduce your risk of anxiety and depression. What’s more, apples contain quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that helps to reduce inflammation.

#8 Salmon

Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. The same is true of other fatty fishes like lake trout, sardines, herring, and albacore tuna. Omega 3 fatty acids reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

What’s more, salmon reduces inflammation and helps control insulin. It also improves mood and cognition by enhancing cell-to-cell communication.

#9 Dark Leafy Greens

Leafy greens are packed with several beneficial nutrients that help fight against inflammation and lower your cortisol levels. This, in turn, reduces overall stress levels, as well as wear and tear on the body.

Leafy greens also act as a natural antioxidant that can help boost your iron and energy levels. Examples of leafy greens include kale, arugula, and rapini, among many others.

#10 Turmeric

For thousands of years, turmeric has been used for its medicinal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric’s high curcumin content is what gives it this superpower.

What’s more, curcumin has also been shown to boost levels of the brain hormone BDNF, which promotes the growth of new neurons, and fights against degenerative brain processes.

We understand that health related issues can be highly nuanced, complex, technical, and based on the individual – and we are here to help guide you through the process. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us here for more information. We are looking forward to hearing from you.

New ways to fight an old problem

Beautiful Yoga: Matsyendrasana PoseIt’s a tragedy of epidemic proportions. Each year, we lose more and more people to the opioid crisis. Because of soaring overdose deaths (deaths in the U.S. from opioid-related overdoses jumped another 21 percent in 2018), American life expectancy dropped for several years in a row during the late 2010s.

And it’s not some street drug such as heroin or crack cocaine that’s bringing down everyday working people in the United States, but rather a series of prescriptions being willingly given by doctors across the country, ostensibly to treat pain. OxyContin, Fentanyl, Percocet … whatever name it goes by, opium derivatives are still among the most highly addictive substances known to man.

It’s no great secret that powerful pain killers have become a major problem, both in dense urban areas and in rural cities and towns. From the deep south to the Pacific Northwest, this is an epidemic that touches every corner of the country. Each year, the death toll climbs. Each year, someone doesn’t make it to the end of the year, and another family is shattered, another life wasted.

As a result, there has been a big spike in interest surrounding alternative pain treatments and medicines. Whether it be yoga, massage, or better nutrition, people from coast-to-coast are ditching pills in favor of a natural pain-free life.

Even more, researchers at Harvard Medical School discovered that something as simple as regular yoga can go a long way in relieving the symptoms of chronic pain. They also studied acupuncture, relaxation techniques, massage therapy, and nutritional supplements.

While many of the studies in question did not specifically comment on the effects of alternative treatments in reference to opioid use, it does suggest that people could greatly benefit from alternative treatments where treating chronic pain is concerned.

Further studies are ongoing, but the initial findings are promising. In the search for safer options than the powerful pain killers we’ve become accustomed to, alternative medicine is a welcome sight.

Exploring the link between smoking and heart health

no smoking no vaping sign ban cigarette and electronic cigaretteCigarette smoking remains the leading cause of preventable diseases and death in the United States. According to the CDC, smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans yearly. Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 toxic chemicals. When inhaled, these toxins affect several bodily functions, which can result in lung cancer, emphysema, and even heart diseases.

About 20% of smoking-related death is caused by heart disease. In this article, we explore the relationship between smoking and heart health.

How Smoking Affects Cardiovascular Health

Every human requires oxygen to live, and we obtain it from breathing in air. As the lung takes in oxygen, it delivers it to the heart, which then supplies the rest of the body with oxygen through the blood.

When you smoke, your blood becomes contaminated with chemical toxins. As these toxic chemicals are pumped to other parts of your body – through the blood – they damage your blood vessel and heart. This may ultimately lead to cardiovascular diseases.

Types of Cardiovascular Diseases Caused By Smoking

Several heart-related conditions can arise as a result of smoke toxins within the body. Common examples include:

  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Coronary heart diseases
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Aneurysm.

But that’s not all. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can also result in atherosclerosis. This disease results from the buildup of fats, cholesterol, and other substances within the artery walls. This buildup is referred to as plaque, and it causes the narrowing of the arteries, thereby blocking blood flow.

Smoking can also cause some serious (but rare) heart conditions like:

Abdominal aortic aneurysm

An abdominal aortic aneurysm is an enlarged area in the lower part of the major vessel that supplies blood to the body (aorta). With time, the enlarged area can eventually burst, resulting in sudden death.

Peripheral artery diseases (PAD)

Smoking is also the leading cause of PAD. This is a common circulatory problem in which narrowed arteries reduce blood flow to your limbs. This condition prevents your arms or legs – usually your legs – from receiving an adequate supply of blood. Severe cases of PAD may result in amputation.

Risk of Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is smoke you don’t mean to breathe in. Exposure to secondhand smoke usually arises when you mingle with people who smoke – either with friends or strangers in shared spaces.

Secondhand smoke has immediate adverse effects on the cardiovascular system, which can damage heart tissues, lower HDL cholesterol, and raise blood pressure. In severe cases, it may result in stroke or even coronary heart disease.

Pregnant women are told to stay away from smoking. But secondhand smoke can negatively impact the fetus. It can cause babies to be born with low birth weight and birth defects. Premature babies with respiratory distress syndrome are also highly susceptible to secondhand smoke.

Statistical Impact of Smoking on Heart Health

Over 30 million Americans are diagnosed with heart disease. And every year, about 650,000 Americans die from heart disease, making it the leading cause of death in the United States. Of these deaths, about 20 per cent is directly caused by cigarette smoking.

But here’s what’s interesting. According to the CDC, secondhand smoke causes nearly 34,000 premature deaths from heart disease among nonsmokers. This means that about 26 percent of people that die from smoking-induced heart diseases are nonsmokers.

Reducing Your Risk of Smoking-Induced Heart Diseases

Thankfully, there are several things you can do to reduce your risk of heart disease resulting from smoking. Some of the most important ones include:

Don’t Start Smoking.

If you’ve not started smoking, then it’s best to avoid it. Why? Tobacco contains nicotine, which is very addictive. That’s why smokers have the compulsive urge to smoke, even in the face of negative health consequences.

Quit Smoking

This is easier said than done, but it is extremely important. You instantly reap the benefits of quitting smoking no matter how addicted you are. Studies have shown that just 20 minutes after you quit smoking, your heart rate drops to normal levels.

In 12 hours, the levels of carbon monoxide (which is a toxic chemical) drops to safe levels in the body, allowing more toxin-free oxygen to reach vital organs like the heart. And within four years after you quit smoking, your risk of stroke drops to the levels of a lifetime nonsmoker.

Remember, smoking increases your risk of heart disease by two to four times that of a nonsmoker, so it’s wise to stop as soon as possible.

Here are some strategies that can help you quit smoking:

1) Develop a strong mindset to quit.

2) Set a date to quit and tell your friends and family about it. Ask them for their support.

3) Get medicine that can help. Examples include nicotine gum, patches, and lozenges.

4) Be prepared for withdrawal and even relapse.

The key to quitting smoking is to never give up. Most people that try to quit smoking usually relapse about three times before they finally succeed.

Avoid Secondhand Smoke

This last thing you want is to develop heart disease because of secondhand smoke. Avoid gatherings with smokers. Tell your friends and family not to smoke when you’re together in a vehicle or any other shared space.

Contact us here today for more information.

Could you be experiencing a deeper, more restful sleep?

According to the CDC, one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep. Some reports claim that more than half of all Americans suffer from lack of sleep. If you feel you may be one of them, chances are you can probably count yourself among the sleep-deprived. Woman sleeping peacefully in bed

Why does it matter? Not getting enough quality sleep can contribute to a host of health conditions from heart disease to depression and diabetes. It can also make it harder for your body to fight off any cold-causing bugs and keep your immune system humming along strong.

Try incorporating some of these tricks to get a better night’s sleep tonight … and every night. (Tip: It may be helpful to keep a sleep journal by your bed to jot down what worked and what didn’t plus how many hours you slept and how you felt.)

Tip #1: Keep your phone out of bed. Especially given the popularity of social media, we have the tendency to scroll through our favorite apps while lying in bed. The problem is that the light and stimulation from our screens may actually create a disturbance in our circadian rhythm that can lead to more long-term insomnia.

Try this: Leave your phone to charge in another room and use an actual alarm clock instead of the alarm app on your phone.

Tip #2: Set your bedroom temperature. The temperature setting can have a profound effect on sleep, with reports indicating that temperature has a greater impact than outside noise on restful sleep. Around 70 degrees Fahrenheit seems to be the sweet spot, but play around with what works best for you. That’s where the sleep journal can come in handy.

Try this: Consider using a rotating fan which will both provide a breeze and some white noise.

Tip #3: Practice relaxation techniques. Mindfulness exercises such as meditation and deep breathing can prepare both your body and mind for a sleep that’ll lead to a refreshing morning. Relaxation techniques can also include reading a book or taking a hot bath.

Try this: Practice the 4-7-8 breathing exercise — inhale through your nose to the count of four, then hold your breath for seven seconds, followed by an exhale through your mouth for a count of eight. Repeat at least four times.

It’s time to focus on sleep health. Start with these three simple tips and get the restful slumber you need and deserve.

What are the best ways to prevent memory loss?

83991716_MDementia is one of the most dreaded diseases of aging, currently affecting over 5 million Americans. Severe forms of dementia can result in forgetting the names – and even faces – of loved ones.

But even if you don’t have dementia, you may still experience memory loss in daily life. Maybe it’s misplacing your keys all the time or forgetting an appointment, or even strongly trying to remember what you came to pick up in the room you’ve just entered.

Memory loss can be caused by a wide range of factors, ranging from genetics to diet to medications, among many others. But here’s the good news: You do not need to suffer from the displeasure of memory loss.

In this article, we look at five things you can do to improve your memory:

Eat Right

Believe it or not, what you eat significantly impacts your cognitive abilities. If that’s not the case, why else do you think doctors are strongly particular about the food a mother gives her baby?

But as we grow into adults, most of us change the way we eat for the worse – thanks to our fast-paced lives. From junk food to alcohol, we eat foods that decrease our brain capacity. A health study showed that the Standard American Diet (SAD) decreased learning ability and reduced performance in memory tests.

That’s why it’s important you watch what you eat. For starters, choose vegetables, legumes, eggs, fish, olive oil, nuts, and fruits. Avoid alcohol, sugar, red meat, packaged food, and do well to stop smoking. Eating healthily will also reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

Engage in Physical Exercise

The importance of physical exercise cannot be overstated. Physical activity increases blood circulation around the body, including the brain. Improved circulation means that your brain cells get all the extra oxygen and nutrients it needs to function optimally.

What’s more, when you exercise, you release higher levels of dopamine in your brain. Asides from helping to improve your mood, dopamine also improves memory and focus.

Here’s the good thing: You do not need to spend hours in the gym to benefit from exercise. Simple exercises like walking, jogging, and cycling helps promote nerve cell maturation and overall brain efficiency. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.

Challenge Your Brain

Remember the old saying: use it or lose it? The same applies to memory and cognitive abilities. If you don’t sufficiently challenge your brain, it eventually begins to deteriorate. That’s why challenging your brain is a lifelong activity.

There are several ways you can challenge your brain. Some examples include:

Learn something new

Studies have shown that learning a new skill increases the density of myelin (or white matter) in the brain, which helps to improve overall cognitive functions such as attention to detail, concentration, problem-solving, and memory recall. It also reduces your chance of developing dementia.

Leaning a new language, a musical instrument, or any other skill will do the trick. Even reading wide and volunteering provides you with ways to challenge your brain.

Play brain games

If you’re looking to challenge your brain in a fun way, brain games are perfect for you. Popular brain games include chess, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, and sudoku. Spending just 15 minutes a day on brain games can help improve concentration and cognitive skills.

Stay Socially Engaged

Humans are a social species. In fact, we are one of the most social species of all mammals. Hence, we need to interact with other humans to maintain our sanity constantly. That’s precisely why solitary confinement is a severe form of punishment. What’s more, studies have shown that those with a strong social network are less likely to develop dementia.

Preserving healthy relationships helps you feel cared for and understood. This, in turn, causes your brain to release oxytocin, which helps counteract the debilitating effects of stress on mental health.

That’s why you need to interact with others. Talk with others. Join groups. Get involved in organizations, clubs, or religious organizations. Get a pet (if you’re a pet lover). In summary, ensure that you keep your social engagement alive.

Get Enough Sleep

Unfortunately, many people downplay the importance of sleep. Yes, we lead busy lives. But that’s no excuse for depriving your body and mind of the nourishing and refreshing benefit of sleep.

You see, poor sleep adversely affects mood while increasing anxiety disorders. Lack of sleep is also linked to heart disease and type 2 diabetes, among many others.

That’s why it’s important to get anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Good sleep is not a luxury! It’s a requirement for a healthy life!

We know health-related issues can be nuanced and overwhelming, but we are here to help. Reach out to us HERE today for more information. We are looking forward to hearing from you!

Exploring the potential of turmeric

70342770 - tumeric curcuma root healthy golden orange powderWhen you think about turmeric, what do you think of? Quite possibly, your experience with this root vegetable is limited to those bright yellow bottles of mustard that dot the shelves in grocery stores and sit perched on lunch counters, waiting for someone to squeeze a little tangy goodness onto their sandwich. And that’s certainly a popular use of turmeric, especially in American culture. But this veggie has quite the storied history and its potential powers of healing have yet to be fully examined.

If there is one thing that modern medicine sometimes misses when people are seeking treatment for an illness or disorder, it’s nutrition. It’s no secret that medical schools barely touch the issue.

Yet, as more medical doctors realize the healing power of maintaining a proper diet and well-balanced lifestyle, natural remedies once thought lost to the past are suddenly re-emerging. And nowhere is this more true than the topic of turmeric.

Turmeric has often been called the wonder spice, primarily because of the circumin contained within, which itself is one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet. Generally extracted from turmeric for use in supplements, circumin has also proven itself in the lab time and time again.

Part of the ginger family, turmeric has been used for thousands of years as a natural medicine. It also gives curry its yellow color and mouth-watering fragrance.

Most of the research done on the medical benefits of circumin focused on one factor: inflammation. Although it seems like “inflammation” has been turned into more of a buzzword, inflammation-related conditions like Crohn’s disease are on the rise.

And while inflammation by itself is not bad, indeed it plays a healthy role keeping nasty viruses and bacteria out of our body, chronic inflammation that goes unchecked could be a major problem. This is where circumin comes in.

Turmeric and circumin have performed well in treating inflammation in credentialed studies, and while there is no current FDA-approved usage for circumin, it certainly couldn’t hurt to add more of it to your diet.

Exploring future trends in regenerative medicine

63923714 - stem cell application. using stem cells to treat diseaseRegenerative medicine is a significant advancement in medical treatment, which is based on the principles of stem cell technology and tissue engineering to replace or regenerate human tissues and organs to help restore their functions.

Although seeds for this field has been laid for over six decades, it was in 1999 that the term “regenerative medicine” was coined to describe an emerging field that encompasses knowledge from other medical fields like cell transportation, tissue engineering, stem cell biology, biomechanics, prosthetics, nanotechnology, and biochemistry.

Today, we’ve come a long way, and there are several FDA-approved regenerative medicines in the market. From Carticel (which is used to repair cartilage defects from acute or repetitive trauma) to cell-based medical devices like Celution (which is used to transfer autologous adipose stem cell).

But this is only the beginning of a great adventure! In the article, we look at some of the future promises of regenerative medicine.

Understanding the Relationship Between Aging and Diseases

Just around 200 years ago, the average human life expectancy was between 30 and 40 years of age. This low life expectancy was primarily caused by diseases. Some so catastrophic, like the bubonic plague that wiped out one-third of the European population in the 14th century.

But when access to better hygiene and life-saving drugs of the 19th century like penicillin came into the picture, life expectancy has dramatically gone up to about 78 years.

However, aging is inextricably associated with failing bodily functions – from Alzheimer’s to heart disease. But that’s not all.

Here’s something even more interesting to note.

The United States is in the fourth stage of its demographic transition, meaning there is a gradual decline in total population. You might think of it as a good thing, but it comes with its unique challenges.

Based on a study by the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC), the population of those aged 65 and over will reach 77 million. And that number will far exceed those aged 18 and below. Hence, we expect an ever-increasing pressure on the healthcare system primarily driven by the aging population.

Future Regenerative Trends to Look Out For

Here are some of the promise regenerative medicine holds for the future:

  • Increasing number of late-stage clinical trials and approved therapies.

Phase II trials in medicine development are known for being the riskiest. Now, there are over 600 ongoing Phase II trials – the largest ever. For sure, a considerable amount will end up failing, but those that do make it will take us closer towards victory over what ails us.

Successful projects will inspire additional investment and development, while failures will require an in-depth reassessment of what went wrong, like unanticipated safety issues or low efficacy.

Currently, there are over 100 regenerative medicine projects in Phase III programs. In the end, we anticipate a few dozens to be successful, clinically validated, and made available for public use.

  • A shift towards standardized treatment approaches.

A current cornerstone of regenerative treatment is precision medicine. Precision medicine is a form of medicine that uses information about a person’s genes to prevent, diagnose, or treat disease.

For instance, the introduction of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell technology to treat refractory hematological malignancies in patients is achieved using gene-modified autologous cells. While this approach is effective, it is prohibitively un-scalable and expensive.

Several regenerative medicine companies are working on next-gen processes that apply the same concepts using allogenic platforms so these solutions could be administered off the shelf. This will help make these solutions more scalable and cost-effective.

  • Increased collaborations through mergers and acquisitions

Big biopharmaceutical companies are beginning to realize the substantial impact regenerative medicine will have in disease indications and clinical situations where traditional medicine is ineffective.

The exciting medical problems solved by regenerative medicine will help save lots of lives. But for large companies, it presents a special opportunity to generate new revenue streams and boost profitability.

Hence, established companies will be on the lookout for promising approaches that can be acquired to further strengthen their base.

  • Radically changing the treatment of injury and disease.

Imagine a world where patients suffering from paralysis can regain full movement. A world where regenerative medicine is used to reverse the course for a scarred heart. A world where the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s no longer means a certain fate of neurodegeneration. Several regenerative medicine research is working hard to make this a reality.

And as noted earlier, regenerative medicine research is used to tackle some of the diseases associated with aging. For instance, worn knee cartilage can be repaired by injecting a regenerative trigger rather than a surgical replacement.

Wrap Up

Regenerative medicine is still in its infant stage. Yet, its current beneficial impacts cannot be overemphasized. With the endless potentials associated with this field, the future holds great promises for the betterment of the overall health of the human species.

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Holistic medicine: getting to the root of the issue

16686351 - mango treePicture, if you will, a beautiful tree stretching into the sky. Imagine that this tree is several stories high with branches and limbs shooting out in every direction. Green leaves spread out everywhere you look, and in the spring, new buds are visible as you walk beneath it.

Yes, this tree is lovely, it’s true—but its branches and leaves represent something more sobering. As you look closely at each branch, you discover it represents an area of your health that poses challenges. Perhaps you have anxiety or postpartum depression. Or maybe you are experiencing heart disease, thyroid issues—even cancer. The fact is, this tree represents each one of us. No one has a perfect medical record, and many of us are living daily with conditions that can be debilitating.

Now imagine digging beneath the soil under the tree and into the vast system of roots below. Here are the many triggers of the conditions you saw above in the leaves and branches. Factors affecting your health can include poor diet, stress, lack of sleep and exercise, genetics, trauma and quite a bit more. It quickly becomes clear that while each of these can play a role, many of them crisscross one another below ground, revealing how interconnected our body’s systems and experiences can become.

This contrast between the symptoms above-ground and the causes below-ground accurately reflects the value of functional medicine. Rather than looking only at the branches and leaves and treating them — a typical practice among many in medicine—practitioners of functional medicine seek to understand the roots first. If we can truly learn to identify and manage the root causes of any of these health issues, we can begin to help people heal faster.

If you’d like to know more about how functional medicine can benefit you and your family, http://proactivewellness.com with us today. We’re here to help.

Five rules for achieving optimal health

young   woman woke up in the morning in the bedroom by the window with her backNo other time in history have we experienced widespread prosperity like we do today, especially in the Western World. Global famine seems to be a thing of the past. What’s more, our understanding of medicine has developed to a point where several devastating diseases have been defeated. Little wonder the average lifespan has increased over the years.

But with all these updates, we seem to be combating many new challenges that pose unique threats to our well-being. Over-eating has led to the obesity epidemic in the United States. Our fast-paced lives have led to the proliferation of junk food and increased levels of stress.

In this post, we’re going to take a step back to explore five simple rules you need to remember to achieve optimal health and well-being.

Rule 1: Do Not Put Toxins Into Your Body

That’s right! Many of the things we take into our bodies are outright bad! Common examples include alcohol, hard drugs, and cigarettes.

While taking alcohol in moderation may be alright (if your body can tolerate it), it is very easy to become addicted. When that happens, you need ever-increasing bottles to sustain the pleasure you derive.

Excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other problems like liver disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, and even cancer.

Smoking damages almost every organ in the body, negatively impacting the health of your brain, heart, and immune system. Do you know that smoking is the leading preventable cause of early disease and death in the United States? That’s how bad smoking is!

Drug abuse is also a rising problem in the US. Marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and meth are some of the most commonly abused drugs. Even normal prescription and over-the-counter drugs like pain relievers, depressants, and stimulants can also be abused.

These substances are highly addictive. So if you get started, it becomes worse and very difficult to break. That’s why it’s best not to even get started on them!

Rule 2: Eat Healthy Foods

We are in the age of fast food, and we take in lots of junk! While they may be tasty, they have long-term negative impacts. For starters, most breakfast cereals, pizzas, mayonnaise, french fries, hot dogs, and sugary drinks are unhealthy. Eating junk food regularly can lead to an increased risk of obesity and chronic diseases. Therefore, minimize their intake if you cannot curb them entirely from your diet.

On the other hand, a healthy diet will help you achieve optimal nutrition and well-being.

Just like your “mama” told you, make sure you eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Vegetables provide essential minerals, and other nutrients, such as fiber and antioxidants.

Foods on lean protein sources like chicken breasts, tofu, eggs, and fish are good for you. Similarly, ensure that more than half of the grains you eat are whole grains. Because whole grains are not severely refined, they still retain many of their nutrients.

When it comes to eating healthy, most people know what’s good and what’s bad. That’s why it’s important to develop the discipline to always choose what’s good for your health!

Rule 3: Exercise Regularly

I know you’ve heard this a million times. But it’s so important that it’s worth mentioning repeatedly. There is strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and happier life.

People who exercise regularly are at a lower risk of developing many long-term conditions like stroke, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.

Exercise also helps your body, brain and hormones function optimally day in, day out. What’s more, exercise is a great way to increase your body’s metabolism, reduce excess fat, and lose weight.

The great thing about exercise is you do not need to lift heavy weight or “live in the gym” to benefit from it.

Simple aerobic training exercises like walking, hiking, jogging, swimming, rowing, and biking improves cardiovascular conditioning, controls blood sugar levels, improves lung function, lowers blood pressure, and more.

The right kinds of exercise can also help you improve your physique, making you feel better about yourself.

Rule 4: Stay Away From Excess Stress

Although we live in a fast-paced world, it’s important you properly manage your stress to prevent eventual breakdown.

Excessive stress increases your cortisol levels (which is the stress hormone). This, in turn, impairs your metabolism. You begin to crave junk food, which is bad for you.

Over time, continued strain on your body from stress may lead to severe health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and even mental disorders like anxiety and depression.

That’s why it’s very important to always take a break! Remember, if you break down because of stress, you won’t be able to do the things you’re currently killing yourself for.

Rule 5: Get Enough Sleep

Health experts recommend that adults get anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep daily. Sleep is the avenue for your body to rejuvenate itself. Consistent bad sleep will lead to an eventual breakdown of your body.

However, getting enough sleep in today’s world requires conscientious efforts. But here are some tips to help with that:

1) Do not drink coffee late in the day.

2) Have a sleeping routine and stick with it!

3) Sleeping in complete darkness is ideal

4) Do not binge-watch movies late into the night.

Contact us today for more information!

Understanding the difference between a stroke and a heart attack

28096823_MStrokes and heart attacks are similar in that they both occur suddenly, and require prompt medical attention. While they also both involve blood blockage to critical body parts, the critical parts being affected are the main distinguishing factors.

In a stroke, blood flow to the brain is blocked. On the other hand, a heart attack occurs when a blockage in blood flow to the heart occurs.

Understanding their subtle differences helps ensure that the right kind of first aid and treatment is administered, as prompt action might be the difference between life and death. That’s why we’ll explore some of these differences.

What is a Stroke?

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is impeded. This disruption of blood flow is usually caused by a blocked artery (usually caused by a blood clot) or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. When any of these occurs, the brain is deprived of oxygen. Consequently, brain cells begin to die.

If left for too long, a stroke can cause lasting brain damage, life-long disability, or even death. According to the CDC, stroke is the fifth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming about 150,000 lives yearly. That’s why immediate treatment is crucial to give a patient their best chance of full recovery.

Common Symptoms of Stroke

When brain cells are deprived of oxygen, some of the symptoms you might notice include:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, leg, or arm, especially on one half of the body
  • Sudden difficulty in speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden dizziness, loss of balance and coordination, as well as trouble walking.
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause.

The mnemonic F.A.S.T. can be used to identify and respond to a stroke.

F.A.S.T. stands for:

F – facial dropping

A – Arm weakness

S – speech difficulties

T – Time

What to Do?

If you notice some of the symptoms of stroke, it’s important to act promptly as noted in the last letter of the mnemonic ‘T’. But why is that? Because when a stroke occurs, brain cells start to die. Without prompt medical attention, irreparable brain damage may occur.

That’s why you need to call 911 if you notice someone exhibiting these symptoms. Make sure you take note of the time these symptoms started so you can pass them on to the medical personnel.

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is restricted, thereby depriving the heart of the oxygen it needs. This, in turn, damages the heart muscle, which may lead to death if left untreated.

Most cases of heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease. This condition develops when the arteries of the heart cannot deliver enough oxygen-rich blood to the heart. Over time, the heart muscles over-work to get oxygen, which eventually leads to a damaged or failed heart muscle.

Fat, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells can also build up to form plaques in the arteries. When hard plaques rupture, blood clots form around them, sometimes blocking the artery and starving the heart of oxygen.

According to the CDC, heart disease is a leading cause of death in the United States, killing about 660,000 people yearly.

Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Surprisingly, strokes and heart attacks have similar symptoms. Here are some of the things to look out for if you suspect a heart attack:

  • Discomfort and pain the chest, arm, or below the breastbone
  • Unexplained pain in the back, jaw, or neck
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Sweating, dizziness, upset stomach, and vomiting
  • Fast or uneven heartbeat

What to Do?

Like a stroke, a heart attack also requires immediate medical attention. If someone has a heart attack, make sure you promptly call 911 or seek medical help. If the patient stops breathing, perform CPR or use a defibrillator if available.

How are Heart Attack and Stroke Diagnosed and Treated?

Doctors first run through your symptoms and medical history.

If you have a stroke, you’ll likely get a CT scan of the brain to show areas of poor blood flow. If the blockage is caused by a clot, the doctor administers a medication called tissue plasminogen activator to break up the clot. If the stroke is caused by a ruptured blood vessel, surgery is carried out to repair it.

On the other hand, if you have a heart attack, an electrocardiogram is first used to check the health of your heart. Checking for heart attack indicating enzymes can also be used to diagnose a heart attack. Performing cardiac catheterization is also another option.

In some instances, medication and lifestyle changes are all you need to tackle a heart condition. However, other instances require either coronary artery bypass grafting (CAGB) or angioplasty.

Wrap Up

Strokes and heart attacks are both serious medical conditions. Knowing their difference will ensure that the right treatment actions are taken. But most importantly, leading a healthy lifestyle – like exercising, avoiding alcohol and smoking, eating healthy, and more – can help reduce your risk factor for these conditions.

Contact us today for more information.